Missionaries are often known for their independent spirits. Of course this independence is indispensable as they raise support, live in a foreign culture, and attempt to establish churches. Yet in spite of this natural “independence,” missionaries may be the most dependent people on the planet.
First, they rely upon the support of churches to provide for their families and ministries. Once they reach the field they must rely upon others to teach them a new language and explain that culture’s unique customs. But most of all, missionaries are ultimately dependent upon the Lord to direct their steps, open doors for ministry, and produce fruit that will remain.
The apostle Paul understood how dependent he was upon local churches, and how valuable their partnership was. In his letter to the Philippian church, he expresses gratitude for a local congregation that cares deeply for him, and longs to minister to his needs. He writes:
“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now (Philippians 1:3-5)
I can echo Paul’s thankfulness to Lighthouse Baptist Church (our sending church).
We had a wonderful privilege to worship together with them this past Sunday, and report back on our recent trip to the Philippines. We are so thankful for their partnership with us in the Gospel. Their love and care toward our family is humbling and overwhelming.
We had a full weekend which started out with our whole family joining the canvassing team where we invited families out to church.
Later that day, our children got to enjoy a hayride with the Kids 4 Truth group.
On Sunday, we were so thankful to worship with our LBC family. It is always a blessing to hear the choir and passionate preaching from the Word of God.
I am very thankful for Pastor Tobe Witmer. He has been a source of encouragement and support throughout this journey, and we are so glad to be under his ministry once again.
Before leaving, the ladies gave us a huge box filled with lovingly hand-made gifts. The thoughtfulness of each gift was very touching. Each of the children got a gift that suited them perfectly: a horse for Kiersten, a piggy for Lydi, and a monkey for Jonas. They have been paying attention to what animal is our kids’ favorites.
I am coming to realize that this “partnership in the gospel” goes far deeper than simply offering financial support. Every missionary has emotional, relational, and spiritual needs, in addition to the financial. We are grateful for a home church that is doing everything they can to meet all of our needs.